In 2015, Mihrigul Tursun arrived at a Chinese airport and was immediately apprehended by authorities. She was coming from Egypt, where she was a student at a university, to visit her parents in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Profiled for her hijab, Tursun said, she was questioned whether or not she studied how to become a terrorist while abroad. Without a chance to answer, Tursun’s two-month-old triplets were taken from her, and she was sent to what she describes as an “ethnic cleansing camp.”
Since her release, Tursun, 29, has exhaustively told her story—and that of the persecution of fellow Uighurs in Xinjiang—to international audiences countless times in an effort to garner public attention and political support for the Uighur minority.